Graphical Kernel System (GKS)


VSI Graphical Kernel System (GKS) for OpenVMS is a two-dimensional and three-dimensional graphics support system that provides a set of programming functions for creating interactive and non-interactive graphics applications. As a development tool, VSI GKS is a solid base for portable, device-independent applications that define and display graphical images, using a variety of graphics devices.

VSI GKS for OpenVMS is VSI’s implementation of the 1988 ISO 8805 standard GKS for Three Dimensions (GKS-3D) and the ISO 7942 standard GKS. VSI GKS conforms to level 2c of this standard, providing full output capabilities, including workstation-independent segment storage (level 2), and full synchronous and asynchronous input capabilities (level c).


  • VSI GKS supports DECwindows Motif for OpenVMS. VSI GKS is supported on HPE processors running the VSI OpenVMS Integrity Operating System V8.4-1H1 and higher, and on HPE AlphaServer systems running VSI OpenVMS Alpha V8.4-2L1 or higher.
  • VSI GKS is device-independent; the same program can generate graphical output on different devices without modification to the source code. The graphical output formats supported by VSI GKS include: CGM (Computer Graphics Metafile), DDIF (DIGITAL Document Interchange Format), Hewlett-Packard Graphics Language (HP-GL), Hewlett-Packard Printer Control Language (HP PCL), PostScript.
  • VSI GKS provides four language bindings in which graphical data can be created and managed. These bindings are: C, ISO FORTRAN, GKS$ (a two-dimensional, language-independent binding), and GKS3D$ (a three-dimensional, language-independent binding).
  • VSI GKS is a subroutine library packaged as a set of shareable images with which application programs are linked. The shareable images are activated at run-time as needed.

Latest Version



  • A software license is required in order to use the VSI GKS software product. Version update licenses are not available. Rights to use future revisions of VSI GKS are available only through a Support Agreement or through a new license purchase.
  • VSI GKS is available in two forms: as a Development kit and as a Run-Time-Only kit. These kits are furnished only under a license. The Development kit license enables you to develop and run your own graphics applications. The Run-Time kit license allows you to run applications that were developed on a system where the full VSI GKS product was installed. As a result, the Run-Time-Only kit license is available at a substantially lower cost per system than the Development kit license.